Once you settle on a location to start your trip the mainstream guidebooks can be a great initial resource for basic information as you begin your planning. Not that we recommend having every detail planned out before you go. We certainly don’t. In fact leaving some things to figure out once you are on the ground allows you to keep flexibility in your plans which will enable you to take advantage of interesting new options that will inevitably present themselves.
On my wife’s insistence, she tends to be right about these types of things, we went the 2 blocks to the Central Philadelphia Public library, and after walking upstairs we found an absolute gold mine of the latest travel books. There were hundreds of them, all free for 2 weeks at a time, not to mention the three renewal periods, which you can even do online. That beats the heck out of the $15-$20 each the books cost on Amazon. The stack above is well over $150, not to mention a couple of pounds of weight we would not want to carry with us. Even if you were willing to spend the money, I was not able to find any of these guides available on the kindle (thus also the kindle app for the iPhone).
So until the guidebook publishers get the full content of their books into digital format we will stick with pre-reading from the library. One notable exception is the Lonely Planet City Guide Apps for the iPhone. At $15.99 each they are a little pricey, but once we try one out we will be sure to provide a review here. The first city we will likely have the chance to test them out will be Dubai, probably in late November.
If anyone else has a good digital travel resource they have used let us know in the comments below, especially if you have purchased and used one of the Lonely Planet City Guide Phone apps. I am really interested to hear how they work. There are limited consumer reviews on iTunes, and the ones there are mixed to unfavorable.